Re: Slow, carefully planned suicide?
I upgraded my wife's netbook (an Acer with AMD C-50 APU) to Windows 10. It was previously running Windows 7 starter and I upgraded RAM to 4 GB and replaced the drive with an SSD, but 7 felt sluggish, but I couldn't do anything about it, it just took a long time, but according to Task Manager, nothing took up too much resources.
I upgraded it to Windows 10, it still felt sluggish.
I could bash Microsoft, but I decided to check what caused it and found that Windows Defender defaulted to scan the drive on certain activities, such as connecting to a network. A couple of clicks later, I rescheduled Defender scan to once nightly, and performance went up, way up.
Non-functioning optical drive? In what sense? Didn't it work at all (doubtful), or didn't it play DVDs? In the latter case, install VLC, Microsoft decided to remove DVD support from Windows 10 (it was only ever present in 7 and 8, as other releases, including XP, didn't support DVD playback without 3rd party tools), since most new laptops are sold without optical drives and since free solutions are frequently better than proprietary. If it didn't work at all, it's probably a hardware fault, since SATA drives are totally generic. Either way, maybe a few clicks away from installing a driver from Toshiba.
To be honest, I don't sympathize with these girls. They imported their laptop from abroad and they seriously can't expect locals who don't know the language to be able to support them if they run into any issues.
And frankly, there are at least a few solutions for them if they were using a laptop with a UK or US keyboard layout (from the most lazy to the least):
1. Buy a set of keycaps for Japanese, and switch Windows language to Japanese (Windows 10 doesn't limit this to Ultimate editions).
2. Switch Windows to Japanese, but make your own keycaps. You'll need a printer, a sheet of printable stickers, scissors, invisible/magic/whatever tape (not ordinary scotch) and a free afternoon.
3. Switch Windows to Japanese and learn to touch type.
Optionally, you can leave Windows in English and install just the Japanese IME. Buying or making own keycaps is optional. For the more ambitious, download MS KLC and use it to make your own keyboard layout to have multiple language support without switching to Japanese.